jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

Punting Motherhood

I want to write about this week, but I have nothing much to say, or at least nothing orderly, entertaining or lyrical. (How’s that for a first line? This can only get better, am I right?)

Being sick sucks, although this sweet little kiss of illness, the gentle brush of pain and shingly exhaustion, has kindly reminded me that life is awesome. As my doctor said, “Stop crying, you big baby. You have Shingles, not Parkinson’s!” (I may have embellished, but this is definitely what he meant.)


Under the water at the water park
April 2014

It’s been a week of feeling under water, just barely getting the stuff done I needed to. Sitting at soccer practice, no longer charging the Fitbit, allowing my pasty white belly to become like a shank of fatted veal. By the way, my children are loving nuzzling their little fists into that joyous layer of leftover pregnancy skin, kindly padded with the high-end chocolate bars my husband keeps buying me to show me that he’s sorry that I’m sick.

See? there’s an upside to almost anything.

What’s been strange about this past week is that I haven’t actually stopped doing everything, I’ve just done it all less well while complaining way more, or at the very least, minimizing my effort. I’ve become a prophetic guru of the low road. I’ve even been telling my equally life-overwhelmed running besty to “take the foul” and “punt.”

It’s gone like this.

Besty: Where are the servers going to stand if the food tables are shaped like oblong half-eggs?

Me: Punt. We’ll figure it out the night of the auction.


Besty: Um. Sure your owl woodcut is great, but we already hung the heron, remember? What if someone saw it and thinks they’re going to bid on the heron?

Me: It’s a bird. They’re both birds. The owl is better. Take the foul on this one. They can bid on the owl.


Besty: So, I was looking at the list of auction items and..

Me: Punt. Take the foul.

Besty: You need to stop saying that. Seriously.

Me: You know you love it.

But that’s about where life needs to be these days. Punt. Take the foul. And there’s something to be said about it.

Me punting a whole week of my kids having “spring vacation” and me being sick looked like this.


Go, Fish… again
April 2014

My daughter actually said to my husband at the end of one particularly let’s-read-another-book, who-wants-to-play-cards? sort of day, “Today was great! Mom was like a babysitter, she was so good.” So there’s that. Being a slow and exhausted punter has potentially made me a better mother, or at least the mother my kids would have if I were a 20-year-old making $15 an hour for caring for them.

And me punting the owl woodcut looked pretty damn good, too, if I do say so myself.


WHO would rather have a heron when they could have this owl?
11 x 17″
by Jennifer Groeber

Me taking the foul at the birthday party where I followed four kids around a waterpark wearing a bikini maybe looked not-as-good. (Did I mention that I’m pasty white, I haven’t worked out in two weeks and I have shingles on my lady bits and legs? Thank god for the open bar is all I can say. Because anyone watching me in a bikini deserved a drink, I tell you.)


Water park
April 2014

We still did crafts at the farm market.


April 2014

We still crowded into the minivan and sang every song from Frozen over and over and over again.


Let it Go
May 2014

And you know what I did this weekend? I lay down while my husband took the kids down to the field and created his own mini-soccer-camp for kids ages 3-6. The last time I lay down in the middle of the day I had a newborn attached to my boob and an oozing c-section incision.


Dad’s soccer camp
May 2014

And you know what? When I got up from that little rest, I cleaned the mudroom, the back porch and… wait for it… the garage.


Garage cleaning
May 2014

So maybe I’m on my way back. I mean, I’m not running any half-marathons this weekend (which, oddly enough, I was actually signed up for) but I’m still in the game. I’m punting, actually. I’m taking the foul.

I’m making it work, as Tim Gunn would say. And I have to admit, I’m feeling fine about it.

Maybe there are some days (or weeks or months) when we all need to just punt, when enough is enough.

Look, there. I’m giving you permission. I’m insisting. Take the foul. You’ve surely earned it.

(And that folks, would be me punting my blog post. It’s not a touchdown, but it’s something.)

12 comments on “Punting Motherhood

  1. Amy Reese
    May 4, 2014

    I’d say you are doing quite a lot for being sick with Shingles. Good for you, Jen. Way to hang in there. I think sometimes it feels ok to not try so hard. You know what I mean? In the end, it’s fine and it also gives others a chance to step up! I’m glad you got to rest in bed. Be good to yourself. xo

    • Burns the Fire
      May 4, 2014

      What Amy said. xx

      • jgroeber
        May 18, 2014

        Ha! Most concise comment ever. You are too good!

    • jgroeber
      May 18, 2014

      My mother-in-law pointed out that I’m not actually punting. She says it’s more like I’m kicking. Still scoring points, just not as many as I originally intended. I was like, “Wait. When you punt you don’t get any points?!” You can tell who actually raised the football player and who just married one.
      And thank you for the support. Really. It helps to have other voices saying, Let It Go (besides the girl from Frozen…) xo

  2. Sasha
    May 4, 2014

    I am sorry for your illness but you do know how to entertain in writing about it! My favorite was your daughter’s comment on you being like the fun babysitter! 🙂

    • jgroeber
      May 18, 2014

      It was wonderful being the fun babysitter. And thank you!

  3. Nadia
    May 5, 2014

    Jen, way to go taking care of yourself. Hope you are all better soon! xx (By the way, your posts are always touchdowns, even in these crazy times.)

  4. kellylmckenzie
    May 6, 2014

    Aaaghghghghgggggghhhhhh. Shingles. Had ’em in grade 8 on my thigh and actually had to pull up my skirt to prove it to my doubting gym teacher. So sorry to hear you’ve been down for the count. However, I’m sensing things are beginning to get a weensy bit better. May you soon be back up and running for the goal line. Pressing the fast forward button for you.

    • jgroeber
      May 18, 2014

      Who gets shingles in 8th grade?! On your thighs!!OMG!
      And yes, I’m on to Lego parties and thoughts of summer. Thanks for the pick-me-up!

  5. Margie S
    May 11, 2014

    Your punting day is my every day. Cleaning your mud room/back porch and garage is putting me to shame, so glad my husband does not read your blog. I won’t even go there with the said bikini wearing:), haven’t worn one of those in decades! So glad you are feeling a “bit” better.

    • jgroeber
      May 18, 2014

      Thank you. As always your comment totally uplifts!
      You should see my mudroom now. Complete wreck! Plus after all that get-up-and-go, the party was moved to the gym because of rain! And we’ll see how that bikini fairs this summer after a month of my new training program (which constitutes birthday cake, red wine and moving as little as possible.) It could go one of two ways…

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This entry was posted on May 4, 2014 by in Surviving Motherhood, The Children, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

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